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Policymakers across the political spectrum are calling for federal investment to modernize and repair the nation’s roads, bridges, and pipes, while recognizing the strong potential to create infrastructure jobs in the process.(1) Indeed, making a strong investment in the nation’s infrastructure is regularly cited as one of the areas with the most potential for bipartisan collaboration. Regardless of the direction that a major infrastructure package takes, there is a need to make complementary investments in our workforce, education, and training systems to ensure we build a pipeline of skilled workers and to correct the existing disparities in access to well-paying infrastructure jobs. The Challenges As policymakers consider investments in infrastructure with the intent to create good jobs, we must also consider inextricably linked workforce and training challenges: IInfrastructure investments will spur job creation, but not necessarily training creation. With targeted investments, we can incentivize the creation of an adequate supply of effective, accessible training programs. Millions of additional infrastructure jobs would mean millions of good quality jobs with relatively short education requirements. But the current system does not have adequate support or incentives for education providers and employers to create a sufficient supply of trainings to meet the skills needs of several million additional infrastructure jobs. Leading infrastructure proposals would create or save about 15 million infrastructure jobs over ten years, including 8 million jobs for workers with a high school diploma or less and about 5 million for people with more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree. Most infrastructure jobs would, however, require some degree of specialized training, particularly given the accelerating pace of technology and automation across relevant industries, like manufacturing and construction. Without attention to the workforce and training needs, many sectors—from the transportation, to construction, to energy—are likely to find an inadequate pipeline of effective training programs and with that, a shortage of qualified workers. With deliberate reforms to the infrastructure careers pipeline, we can create millions of new jobs, while not replicating long-standing inequities in access to good quality infrastructure careers. Large disparities in the pipeline to infrastructure jobs means disparities in access to jobs that offer higher wages than most other jobs for people with less formal education than a bachelor’s degree. At both the 10th and 25th percentiles of wages, infrastructure workers see a wage premium of more than $3 per hour when compared with workers across all occupations. Infrastructure occupations have long had glaring, persistent demographic gaps. A significantly disproportionate share of infrastructure workers are white and older than age 45. More than eight in ten infrastructure workers in 2019 were male. Apprenticeship has great potential to help expand infrastructure pipelines. There is a need to scale both on-ramp programs to apprenticeship and supports that dramatically increase success in apprenticeship. Registered Apprenticeship (RA) is a widely recognized, proven strategy to build a pipeline of skilled workers and connect jobseekers, particularly those with less than a bachelor’s degree, to higher paying jobs. These programs also tend to lead to bigger wage gains over the course of a career, as compared to very short-term training programs. But access to RA is constrained, in part because too many people lack support opportunities to prepare for and successfully apply for spots as apprentices. Pre-apprenticeship programs (also known as apprenticeship-readiness programs) have been recognized as a strategy to expand the pathways to succeed in apprenticeships, particularly for severely underrepresented groups in the apprenticeship system—namely, women and people of color. We should view pre-apprenticeship programs as critical to expanding the pipeline for underrepresented groups to ultimately enjoy the wage gains and career mobility that apprenticeships connected to infrastructure jobs would offer. Critically, funding for pre-apprenticeship programs is limited, due to little funding for the programs and the fact that such programs are not eligible for Pell grants. There is also the reality that even where a pre-apprenticeship program is free, the opportunity cost to participating can be a barrier for low-income workers that are household breadwinners. Apprentices earn a paycheck while training, but affordability challenges still exist, particularly childcare and reliable transportation. This disproportionately limits success in apprenticeship for women and low-income people. Our workforce system struggles to ensure workers can navigate career and training options. Addressing the navigation challenge is critical to widening the pipeline to good infrastructure jobs. While advancements have been made at the federal and state levels, workers and career counselors are largely unable to access vital information that would help them to identify trainings with strong labor market results and that meet a jobseekers’ goals. And in terms of direct career counseling, the federal investment in the public workforce system provides resources to serve just a small fraction of those who could benefit from career advice. Top Priorities for Building the Infrastructure Workforce With the aim of building a widely shared recovery, the Markle Foundation has identified three top objectives for reforming the education and training system that should be considered critical complements to any major infrastructure investment. Build a sufficient supply of high-quality training programs that succeed in preparing workers for infrastructure careers. Federal policy should incentivize the creation of effective training opportunities to build the pipeline of skilled workers for good quality infrastructure jobs. To do this, we should support collaboration between employers, labor and community partners to create and provide high quality trainings as well as important pathways to those trainings, including pre-apprenticeships and bridge programs offered by worker-serving organizations. Infrastructure investments will create some short and long-term projects, but we should prioritize training programs that set people up for long-term attachment to a dynamic sector. This means developing skillsets that are foundational as well as driven by demand for skills in an occupation across a sector, not just for one project. Priority strategies to accomplish this include: Provide funding to intermediary organizations to scale sector and regional collaboration in the creation of employer-connected training opportunities. Such intermediaries could include labor-management partnerships, community-based organizations, unions, and workforce boards. These intermediaries would receive funding from states or from national grants to work with employers in an infrastructure sector (e.g. energy, transportation or telecommunications) in a region and training providers to create effective training programs. This strategy is also useful towards scaling the availability of Registered Apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships. o Supporting these collaborations is simultaneously a strategy to scale work by intermediary organizations (community-based organizations, labor-management partnerships, and workforce boards) that work in a sector or region to improve the quality of existing jobs and expand the adoption of practices that reduce bias in hiring. Support employers and unions in providing training opportunities to new and incumbent workers when that training is connected to good quality jobs. Help businesses and union training programs with the costs of developing training programs and paying workers while participating in trainings, when that training is connected to good quality jobs and is substantial. Additionally, we should explore programs that help offset the costs for small and medium-sized businesses of working with third-party organizations to design and deliver training. We could also support the availability of training that small and medium-sized employers create and deliver to their employees. Goal 2: Ensure access to skills development opportunities by addressing affordability and other common barriers to completing training programs. We need to make sure that the populations hit hardest by wage stagnation and displacement have the financial means to participate in effective trainings that lead to infrastructure careers. Priority strategies towards accomplishing this include: Provide funding support to cover tuition and other common barriers to completing training programs: A new dedicated funding system should be developed to guarantee that all low-wage and unemployed workers can pay for effective education and training programs. This funding should have greater generosity than is currently available through Pell or funding in the public workforce system for training. This would essentially be a training account given to all unemployed and low-wage workers for any program that gets people good jobs at family supporting wages. This funding should have flexibility built in: o Programs should be able to cover pre-apprenticeship and effective trainings run by community-based organizations and unions,, in addition to effective training programs offered through traditional education providers. o Funding should be allowed to cover non-tuition costs: While tuition costs often account for the largest expense of taking a training, the cost of supportive services that are essential to participate and complete a program – such as transportation and childcare – are too often insurmountable barriers for low-income people. There is also the reality that many adult learners are household breadwinners and cannot afford to reduce work hours, reducing their household’s income. This funding should have accountability measures built in: o Large funding amounts should only be available for programs that can show positive wage gains for participants: Any new training grants should be tied to a program’s record of raising the wages of its participants and helping them secure jobs. Because the support would only be eligible for effective programs, the funding could cover a larger share of costs. This component is also geared towards ensuring that recipients of the funding realize genuine economic mobility. Very short-term training programs, like digital skills training or prerequisites for more advanced training, could be eligible for assistance, without meeting the accountability criteria. This would likely be beneficial for some downstream roles created by an infrastructure investment. A different route: If not providing support directly to students for costs outside of tuition, fund supportive services at education institutions and other touch points for training: In the contexts of either tuition-free community college or in the absence of the aforementioned new funding stream that intends to cover non-tuition costs, attention to supportive services would need to be provided in some other way. This could include providing labor-management partnerships and community-based organizations support directly to provide crucial services, like onsite childcare, expanded food pantries, public and gas subsidies, flexible emergency funding for trainee needs, among other supports. Goal 3: Foster pathways to infrastructure jobs by investing in the information, guidance and support needed to navigate the training and career options and direct people to highly effective trainings. The public workforce coaching system only has the resources to serve a fraction of those who would benefit from guidance, and jobseekers still lack critical information on the outcomes of relevant training programs. Those who do receive support from the public workforce system will encounter services that prioritize immediate placement into any job—often leading to low-wage jobs—rather than providing the guidance and resources to access quality jobs and the training needed that will provide economic security over the course of a career. Key strategies to address these challenges include: Expand funding to hire and train more career coaches in the federal workforce system. Ensure career coaches have information and knowledge needed to navigate the changes in the broader economy, including the long-term career opportunities afforded by infrastructure occupations. Expand funding for career navigators and guidance counselors in the K-12 system with the aim of improving the availability of guidance for young people to pursue infrastructure careers and connect to youth apprenticeship opportunities. Create a new funding stream to support community-based organizations and other entities that provide career services and pre-apprenticeship programs, with an emphasis on reaching populations that historically have limited access to these services—people of color and low-income communities. In addition to broadly supporting career navigation, this funding should support organizations that provide recruitment, support and guidance for pre-apprenticeship participants. (1) Infrastructure jobs cover a large segment of the U.S. workforce: in 2019, more than one in ten workers were employed in infrastructure. Concentrated in 91 different occupations, infrastructure jobs go beyond those commonly associated with infrastructure, e.g. plumbers, engineers, construction workers, and telecommunications equipment installers. There are also large numbers of workers in supportive roles, such as business operations and management in a variety of settings, including engineering firms, utilities, warehouses, and construction sites.
New York, NY – The Markle Foundation is pleased to announce today that Margaret Hoover has been elected to its Board of Directors. Hoover is the host of Firing Line with Margaret Hoover on PBS, a revival of William F. Buckley Jr.'s long running public affairs television program. “Margaret is an astute observer who will bring a broad perspective to Markle’s work. She examines issues and communities from a deeply thoughtful perspective,” said Zoë Baird, CEO and President of Markle. “We are delighted to have Margaret join our Board and look forward to working together to drive an equitable economic recovery that opens opportunities to good jobs for all workers.” “Markle recognizes that it will take broad, cross-sector collaboration to address the current economic challenges and enable an even-handed economic recovery for all Americans,” said Margaret Hoover. “Through the Rework America Alliance, Markle has a vision for making opportunity available for everyone. I look forward to working with Markle’s leadership to advance these solutions.” Suzanne Nora Johnson, Chair, Markle Board of Directors, added, “Margaret’s unique set of experiences and accomplishments make her an excellent addition to the Markle Board. I am so pleased she will be joining us as we pursue our important work.” The Markle Foundation has formed the Rework America Alliance, a unique coalition of more than 30 partners, including civil rights organizations, nonprofits, private sector employers, labor unions and educators. The Alliance is working to advance opportunities for millions of unemployed and low wage workers to move into good jobs, particularly people of color who have been disproportionately affected by the current economic and health crisis. Hoover is a political commentator for CNN and President of American Unity Fund, a political organization focused on achieving full freedom and equality for LGBT Americans. A best selling author, Ms. Hoover served in The White House under President George W. Bush, in the Department of Homeland Security, on Capitol Hill and on two presidential campaigns. Ms. Hoover serves on the boards of Stanford University's Hoover Institution, the Hoover Presidential Foundation, the Belgian American Educational Foundation, and The 19th* a non-profit newsroom. Raised in Colorado, Hoover has lived in China, Mexico, Bolivia and Taiwan, speaks fluent Spanish fluently and has studied Mandarin Chinese. Ms. Hoover lives in New York City with her husband and their two children. About The Markle Foundation The Markle Foundation challenges itself and diverse partners to deploy their varied expertise to identify solutions to critical public problems and achieve systemic change. Today as advanced technology and automation change the very nature of work, Markle’s priority is advancing solutions toward a labor market that will enable workers in America to move into good jobs in the digital economy. Markle’s workforce initiatives include the Rework America Alliance, which draws on Markle’s Skillful and Rework America initiatives. This work follows Markle’s success in creating the policy and technology architecture that has enabled improvements in healthcare, national security, and access to the Internet. For more information, visit markle.org, follow @MarkleFdn and @ReworkAmerica on Twitter, and read our book, America's Moment. For media inquiries, please contact [email protected] or 917-705-6531
Margaret Hoover is the host of PBS’ “Firing Line with Margaret Hoover” a refreshing revival of the iconic television series hosted by William F. Buckley Jr. for 33 years. A CNN political commentator, Ms. Hoover has served in The White House under President George W. Bush, in the Department of Homeland Security, on Capitol Hill and on two presidential campaigns. She is the President of American Unity Fund a political organization focused on achieving full freedom and equality for LGBT Americans as well as the bestselling author of American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party in 2011. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Daily News, The Daily Beast, CNN.com and FoxNews.com. Ms. Hoover serves on the boards of Stanford University's Hoover Institution, the Hoover Presidential Foundation, and the Belgian American Educational Foundation. Raised in Colorado, Hoover has lived in China, Mexico, Bolivia and Taiwan, speaks fluent Spanish and studied Mandarin Chinese. Ms. Hoover lives in New York City with her husband and their two children.
The Need to Unlock Data to Inform Equity and Economic Mobility Economic mobility remains elusive for far too many Americans and has been declining for several decades. A person born in 1980 is 50% less likely to earn more than their parents than a person born in 1950 is. While all children who grow up in low-opportunity neighborhoods face mobility challenges, racial, ethnic, and gender disparities add even more complexity. In 99% of neighborhoods in America, Black boys earn less, and are more likely to fall into poverty, than white boys, even when they grow up on the same block, attend the same schools, and have the same family income. In 2016, a Pew Research study found that the median wealth of white households was ten times the median wealth of Black households and eight times that of Hispanic households. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated existing disparities, as communities of color suffer higher exposure and death rates, along with greater job loss and increased food and housing insecurity. Reversing this overall decline to address the persistent racial, ethnic, and gender gaps in economic mobility is one of the great challenges of our time. Some progress has been made in identifying the causes and potential solutions to declining mobility, yet policymakers, researchers, and the public still lack access to critical data necessary to understand which policies, programs, interventions, and investments are most effective at creating opportunity for students and workers, particularly those struggling with intergenerational poverty. Data collected across all levels of governments, nonprofit organizations, and private sector companies can help answer foundational policy and research questions on what drives economic mobility. There are promising efforts underway to improve government data infrastructure and processes at both the federal and state levels, but critical data often remains siloed, and legitimate concerns about privacy and civil liberties can make data difficult to share. Often, data on vulnerable populations most in need of services is of poor quality or is not collected at all. To tackle this challenge, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the Markle Foundation (Markle) spent much of 2020 working with a diverse range of experts to identify strategic opportunities to accelerate progress towards unlocking data to improve policymaking, answer foundational research questions, and ensure that individuals can easily and responsibly access the information they need to make informed decisions in a rapidly changing environment.
The Biden administration has made investments in education and training a top priority. The campaign’s proposal to support education beyond high school aims to make meaningful investments in the education and training system. It includes a $50 billion investment in community colleges and other effective training providers to make skill building more affordable and effective and to create pathways for workers to achieve economic security. This brief outlines the three key policy goals we think are necessary to ensure worker success in the post-pandemic economy. More detail on the Markle Foundation’s views of the policies needed to support a strong recovery can be found here. The ideas in this brief would advance the Biden Administration’s goals of expanding community college training programs, increasing partnerships between unions and employers, and providing people greater access to these programs. Specifically, we believe the Biden Administration should address program affordability and effectiveness in order to reorient job-connected training offered by community colleges and the workforce system toward the long-term economic security of learners while advancing racial equity in economic outcomes. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted women and people of color, who face higher unemployment rates and a greater demand to exit the workforce to take care of children and family members. Education and training will be needed to help people find jobs and reenter the labor force. At the same time, reforms are needed in the education and training systems and in the employment system to improve historical gaps along racial lines in completion and labor market outcomes. There are three core policy goals we think are critical for the Biden Administration to address: 1. Increase program affordability to ensure that tuition and supportive services costs are no longer a barrier to pursuing education and training; 2. Provide a framework to identify, scale, and use effective training programs, accounting for the wide variation in program quality; 3. Expand employer and union-based training programs to create more opportunities for workers to pursue job-connected training that allows them to earn while they learn. Below you will find further details on each of these goals. Increase program affordability including non-tuition costs Affordability is a major barrier that individuals face when pursuing post-secondary education and training. Pell Grants do not cover all effective programs, including training programs run by community-based organizations and labor-management partnerships. Additionally, Pell Grants are not generous enough for more expensive programs. While program cost often accounts for the largest expense, the cost of supportive services – such as transportation and childcare – can prove to be an insurmountable barrier for many low-income learners. According to a 2018 CLASP report, 71 percent of community college students have some unmet financial need. Several evaluations have shown that when provided with wraparound supports and additional financial assistance, community college students are more likely to complete their programs and achieve better labor market outcomes. Below are options to address affordability of both tuition and supportive services: 1. Fund program costs, supportive services, and cash aid: Creating a new training account or a training grant would enable the Administration to make funding available that is sufficient enough to cover both tuition and essential supportive services costs while workers are pursuing effective education and training programs. We would suggest that any new training funding be tied to a program’s record of raising the wages of its participants and helping them secure jobs (see further details below). In providing funding for only effective programs, the funding could cover a larger share of costs. We would suggest making funding more generous than Pell and giving students the option to use a Pell Grant or the new financing vehicle. To provide the most robust amount of support, a training account should be given to all unemployed and low-wage workers for any program that gets people good jobs at good wages. More limited policies could include: Limit program eligibility to those that are two years or less in length. Limit funding to only unemployed workers rather than unemployed and all low-wage workers. Focus on specific sectors. The proposal could cover only programs in certain sectors –such as infrastructure, clean energy, health care – reducing covered programs. Leverage existing social safety net investments to reduce costs of supportive services, including prioritizing childcare block grant dollars for students with children and providing states with assistance on leveraging SNAP dollars. 2. Fund supportive services and cash aid directly to students: If major investments in community colleges make programs tuition free, a training grant or account for individuals could provide additional funding directly to workers to help them cover non-program costs at community colleges and program costs for effective training providers outside of the community college system, including union training programs and programs run by community-based organizations. Making this small amount of funding available to learners for the most effective programs is a valuable way to steer more people toward these programs. 3. Alternatively, additional funding could be provided to community colleges and effective training providers to enable them to provide these critical services. But without an effectiveness framework, some of this funding would support students in ineffective programs. Create an effectiveness framework for program funding and accountability The Biden campaign’s proposed $50 billion investment is substantial in the context of current funding. It is critical that this funding goes to effective programs in order to ensure that these programs translate to worker success in the labor market. An effectiveness framework helps protect workers from predatory programs and will help in the identification of programs outside the community college system that should be funded, including union training programs and programs at private institutions. Returns to training programs vary widely. Our review of the research finds that federal job training programs raise earnings between approximately $1,300 and $3,500 annually. Sectoral training programs, such as Per Scholas and Year Up, raise wages between $2,000 and $8,000 annually. Associate degree programs have an average return of between $6,000 and $9,600 annually, with the highest return programs in health raising wages by $17,600 annually. Programs with higher returns could receive more funding, and we would also recommend that programs that raise wages and get people into the highest wage jobs (e.g. $50,000) receive the most investment. States could identify which programs are effective. Many states already have the capacity to assess program effectiveness. Further investments in data infrastructure, paired with federal-state partnerships to assess program quality, would allow other states to do so as well. Below are other options for creating an effectiveness framework within the context of community college investments: 1. Higher funding levels to effective programs: If there are plans to distribute funding to community colleges and partners through states, funding could go to states on the condition that they measure effectiveness and provide more funding to the most effective programs. One model is Career Connect Washington, which fully funds student enrollment for each student enrolled in a state-validated Career Connect program. Indiana has also created a list of programs that meet certain labor market outcomes and provides additional funding to students for these programs. 2. Transparency & coaching: At a minimum, workers need information and guidance to determine which program best fits their needs and career goals. Given that workers need counseling to guide their education and training choices and to complete training programs, the expansion of career coaching should be considered. Coaching funding could also be conditioned based on states’ efforts to make information on training programs, including training scorecards, available. Expand employer-based training and union-provided training Investments in community colleges alone will not lead to more employer-based programs as many community colleges do not have sufficiently strong employer partnerships. Grants to partnerships of colleges and businesses are also unlikely to be effective because it is hard to judge which programs have real employer buy-in. We saw this with the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants where evaluations did not show a consistent positive impact on earnings, suggesting funding could have been better targeted. To achieve the goals of expanding employer partnerships and employer-based training, we recommend two complementary proposals below: 1. Grants to organizations that support employers on training, inclusive hiring, and job quality. Fund organizations, not just colleges, that have a history of working with employers to create training programs that meet certain job quality thresholds. This would lead to the creation of a wider array of training programs and could support organizations that work on job quality and workers’ rights simultaneous to training, including labor-management partnerships. Organizations and partnerships supported should also be allowed to use funds to promote inclusive hiring practices that remove barriers for people of color and those without formal education. We believe a small grant program could have a big impact since WIOA funding is so minimal and there is not much other funding available for organizations working with employers. 2. Grants to small and medium-sized businesses and unions to create training programs: Provide funding to small and medium-sized employers and to unions and labor-management partnerships to work with community colleges and other eligible providers to create training programs, with a requirement that their partners also receive funding. This would allow employers and labor partners to signal which training partners are high quality and incentivize educational leadership and employers to co-define in-demand skills and collaborate on program creation. Multiple employers should be required to collaborate to ensure that skills are not specific to one employer. Additionally, job quality standards, such as at least $35,000 annual salary, should be imposed to ensure training leads to good jobs.
Background As the nation debates the need for stimulus to help the economy recover, it is critical to put in place policies that will create an equitable recovery. Raising overall economic activity will not equally distribute opportunity nor provide the relief needed to communities hit hardest by the crisis. The jobs that are created must be good jobs, and workers need support to secure those jobs, including increased access to effective education and training. To position the economy for an equitable long-term recovery, ambitious public investments are needed to create jobs with good wages and benefits, and major complementary investments in adult education and training are necessary to provide the support workers need to emerge from the crisis equipped for high quality jobs. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the stark inequalities that have long plagued the American labor market and society. Millions have lost their jobs or earnings, disproportionately people of color and those with less formal education who were already struggling before the crisis. In 2019, earnings for Black and Latinx workers had just returned to pre-Great Recession levels. While the unemployment rate has declined since the peak of the current crisis, it remains highly elevated especially for Black and Latinx populations and for workers without a college degree. At present, recovery is already starting to slow with fewer and fewer jobs added to the economy each month. To achieve economic security for those most impacted by the downturn, we need to take the following steps: First, we need to support those who cannot find jobs with unemployment insurance and income assistance. Second, we concur with those calling to raise the minimum wage and improve labor standards. This will raise the floor for all workers which will particularly benefit women and workers of color. Third, investments in sectors like infrastructure, clean energy, education, and public health can create opportunities with family sustaining wages, benefits, and stability, while also strengthening the nation’s ability to respond to the daunting crises we face. Fourth, we need to provide impacted workers the support and training they need to access jobs that provide family sustaining wages. Without bold, complementary investments in a new adult training system, many of the most vulnerable workers will not be able to access good jobs and current inequalities will deepen—particularly along racial lines. As economic activity resumes over time, workers will return to a labor market that has permanently changed. Many of the jobs that have been lost will not come back. Workers will be forced to seek new opportunities in an economy where more consumers are relying on e-commerce, more businesses are adopting automation, and more people are teleworking. Many of the jobs that return will look fundamentally different and require new skills as workers navigate the transition from an industrial to a digital economy. For example, good jobs in sectors like construction now require significant technical training and home health aides use digital tools in their daily work. Policy Goals To address the challenges presented above, a new framework for education and training policy would meet four objectives: 1. All unemployed and low-wage workers can afford effective training that will lead to a good job 2. Employers, labor, and community partners collaborate to provide work-based training opportunities and improve job quality 3. An adequate supply of effective education and training options are available, including online programs 4. Workers have the information, guidance, and support needed to navigate the job market, training options, and pathways to economic security Goal 1: All unemployed and low-wage workers can afford the training programs that will lead to good jobs and wage increases Challenge Many unemployed and low-income workers cannot access or afford effective career-oriented education and training programs that would help them secure good jobs in the economy that emerges. Community colleges and other training providers are struggling to maintain operations in the face of huge budget cuts and social distancing restrictions. Effective programs—including those delivered online—are unaffordable or inaccessible to too many workers, while many available training programs are ineffective and do not lead to good jobs. Potential Solutions Create a new dedicated funding stream for unemployed and low-wage workers to pursue education and training programs that will help them get higher wage jobs. Workers should be given sufficient funds to pursue effective job training programs of their choosing with more funding available to the most effective programs. o To make sure everyone can participate successfully, funding should be flexible enough to cover both tuition and supportive services like childcare, housing, transportation, and other basic needs. Provide a basic small stipend to all unemployed and low-wage workers to pursue any online career-oriented training they choose, without meeting the above criteria, including digital skills training and prerequisites for more advanced training. Invest in state data infrastructure to improve insights into labor market information and measure the impact of training programs on employment and wages. Goal 2: Employers, labor, and community partners collaborate to provide work-based training opportunities and improve job quality Challenge Public funding dedicated to helping employers meet their talent needs is not sufficiently tied to employers’ commitments to creating good quality jobs, instead spending taxpayer dollars to help employers train people for low-wage work. Current programs are not designed to address the bias or discrimination in the education system or labor market that makes it harder for people of color to access good jobs. Potential Solutions Provide funding to organizations – including labor-management partnerships, community-based organizations, and workforce boards – that work with groups of employers in a sector or a region to create effective training, improve the quality of existing jobs, and reduce bias in hiring. Support employers and unions in providing meaningful training opportunities to new and incumbent workers for quality jobs. Goal 3: An adequate supply of effective education and training options are available, including online programs Challenge Social distancing has required many in-person programs to be cancelled or switched to online settings. Many adults are balancing new work and childcare arrangements that limit their ability to learn in person. The result has been an increase in demand for non-traditional and online learning options that give people the opportunity to quickly adapt to rapidly changing economic conditions. Despite the demand for online learning to be a greater part of the training landscape, gaps persist that will limit an equitable recovery if not addressed. Potential Solutions Provide funding to increase the availability of effective online education that prepares people for good jobs. Support training providers like community colleges, which supply effective, career-oriented online training programs that prepare people for high-quality jobs. Adopt complementary proposals that make necessary investments in broadband, devices, and digital skills to enable everyone to successfully learn online. Goal 4: Workers have the information, guidance, and support needed to navigate the job market, training options, and pathways to economic security Challenge The public workforce coaching system only has the resources to serve a fraction of those who need help. Those who do receive support will encounter a system that prioritizes immediate placement into any job, rather than providing the information, resources, and support to access quality jobs and the training needed that will provide economic security and mobility over the course of their career. Potential Solutions Expand federal funding to hire and train more career coaches in the federal workforce system. Create a new federal funding stream to support community-based organizations and other entities that provide career services that reach communities of color, low-income communities, and other populations that historically have limited access to these services. Provide funds to states to expand coaching in other organizations used by jobseekers including community colleges, community-based organizations, and labor-management partnerships, and provide training to career coaches in the state so that they can help clients get into higher-wage jobs.
"Congratulations to Denis McDonough on his confirmation by the U.S. Senate as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. In the four years of his leadership at Markle, Denis has been a deeply committed colleague and wise counsel as we work to open opportunities for all American workers in the digital economy. The nation will be better off for his service in this new role." -Zoë Baird, CEO and President, Markle Foundation
The COVID-19 recession that began in March 2020 has had a disparate effect on workers depending on many factors: industry, occupation, level of education, parental status, race, and gender. For example, declines in employment have been largest for workers of color and those with less formal education. Such disproportionate effects owe in large part to the fact that those groups are overrepresented in the industries that have been particularly hard hit. For example, significant reductions in business travel and in-person activities have led to permanent closures across the leisure and hospitality industry. In contrast, some groups of workers, including those who have higher levels of education, and those working in some industries, including transportation and warehousing, have seen employment largely recover. In this analysis, we examine the impacts of the pandemic recession across different dimensions, including employment, labor force participation, and the need to switch industries. This analysis provides texture and evidence to the emerging understanding that women and people of color, working in the service industry, have been the most negatively affected. The challenge of long-term unemployment for some workers, coupled with the high likelihood that some industries will see weaker labor demand for some time, requires a workforce development strategy that supports workers who will need to switch industries and occupations. The Crisis in the Labor Market for Women and for Black and Hispanic Workers Since falling sharply in the spring, the fraction of the population that is employed has only partially recovered. This recovery has been predominantly driven by white workers; the employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) remains particularly dampened for Black and Hispanic workers. Figure 1 shows EPOP by race/ethnicity among the civilian population ages 16 and older. For Black and Hispanic people, EPOP was between 5 and 6 percentage points lower in December 2020 relative to February; by comparison, the fraction of white people over the age of 16 that were employed was only 3.5 percentage points lower. The decline in EPOP among Asian people fell in between, at about 4.5 percentage points. Those declines in the fraction of population employed reflect both increases in the unemployment rate among those in the labor force as well as decreases in participation in the labor force. In April, when layoffs peaked at unprecedented levels, the unemployment rates for Black and Hispanic workers were 16.7 percent and 18.9 percent respectfully, while the unemployment rate for white workers was 14.1 percent. While the unemployment rate has declined since then, the racial gap still persists. There are also gaps between men and women, with women of color and young women experiencing particularly high unemployment rates. With the crisis persisting and the recovery slowing, many are falling into long-term unemployment, which has serious consequences for a person’s overall economic security. Another reason for the significant decrease in EPOP has been that millions of people have dropped out of the labor force since February. The reasons that have been cited are many, including a lack of job opportunities, health risks from working, and a significant increase in caregiving responsibilities with childcare centers closed, schools operating remotely, and family members falling ill. A greater number of women have dropped out of the labor force, with a particularly large decline in September when many schools committed to remote learning through the fall and winter (figure 2). In addition, the declines in the labor force have been sharpest among Black and Hispanic women. Both groups saw their labor force participation rising before March as a strong economy ushered more people into the labor market. From February to December, the number of Black and Hispanic women in the labor market fell 6.0 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively, outpacing the 2.3 percent decline for white women and the 2.0 percent decline for all men. The Crisis in the Labor Market in Certain Industries The disproportionate effects on certain demographic groups largely owes to those groups being disproportionately employed in particularly hard-hit industries. Figure 3 shows which industries have lost the most jobs. As noted, leisure and hospitality industry experienced significant job loss with nearly 4 million fewer jobs in December compared to February. Notably, employment in government, education and health industries have also materially declined. In general, the industries that have fared worse disproportionately employed women and people of color. For example, as Betsey Stevenson wrote in a Hamilton Project essay in July 2020, “the most rapid declines in March were in employment in leisure and hospitality, an industry in which 53 percent of workers were female in February.” Another Hamilton Project report, by Bradley L. Hardy and Trevon D. Logan, pointed out the disparate employment shocks to Black workers. They also note that public sector employment is the largest employer of Black workers and that “Black Americans are more than twice as likely as the average worker to be employed in the healthcare support service industry.” Many people previously employed in harder-hit industries have felt compelled to change industries. As certain industries continue to face pressures and the benefits of switching out of struggling industries do not abate, additional broad-based workforce training would help to facilitate these transitions. Figure 4 shows how workers in different industries fared from December 2019 to November 2020 (solid colors) and from December 2018 to November 2019 (hatched colors). Using the Current Population Survey, we constructed consecutive four-month periods over which the same worker is observed. Conditional on the industry in which the person reports working in month one, we describe the share of workers who changed industries. We note whether they also saw a change of employment status (in any direction between employed, unemployed, and not in the labor force) within those four months. In almost every sector, there were more cross-sector moves from December 2019 to November 2020 than the prior year. More than 20 percent of those who started their four-month panel in the leisure and hospitality, service, agricultural, transportation, wholesale, and retail sectors were reported to be in a different sector within three months. Among those who changed sectors the share who reported a change in employment status (a spell of unemployment or labor force nonparticipation) vastly outstripped those who did not in almost every sector. More and Better Workforce Training is Needed to Help Workers Adjust There are numerous policies needed to address the labor market challenges facing the millions of people who are out of work. First, measures are needed to ensure people feel safe to resume overall economic activity so that job growth accelerates. Second, household financial resources must be bolstered by the social insurance system, including unemployment insurance, in order to support their spending while the economy is weak and in order to support a more robust economic recovery. Third, overall job quality must be improved including protection for workers who would be at risk as they return to jobs and the assurance of a fair, living wage. As a result of the long-term unemployment wrought by the COVID-19 recession and the expected changes in labor demand going forward, investments in education and training are also a needed part of the policy solutions. As a group, those with lower levels of education still had not made up their Great Recession employment losses before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Those with lower levels of education were more likely to have lost their job and were more likely to have to start over in a new industry to find a new job during the pandemic. Providing access to training and education helps people who want to get into higher paying careers do so and is also necessary for some whose jobs will not be coming back. As some industries might be quite slow to recover and indeed some changes in the labor market are likely permanent, the ability to find employment in different occupations and industries will be an increasingly critical factor in the economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession. David Autor and Elizabeth Reynolds argue that an acceleration in automation as a result of the response of firms to the pandemic will change the composition of labor demand. They write: “We can expect leaner staffing in retail stores, restaurants, auto dealerships, and meat-packing facilities, among many other places. Like the decline of retail, these developments were sure to happen over the longer run. But the crisis has pulled them forward in time, hastening both the accompanying productivity gains and the inevitable labor market adjustments.” Indeed, as we described above, already we can see that many people who are getting jobs are getting them in different industries than they were before. Federal support for workforce training, to help equip people with the different skills they will need for the different labor force they will return to, will be essential for a strong labor market recovery. That support will need to address affordability and access to training both outside and inside of companies. In addition, the most effective policies would ensure that workforce training is of high quality and leads to better labor market outcomes. Efforts to increase affordability are needed at community colleges, as many have proposed, but also at other training providers such as community-based training programs and union-connected training. The Markle Foundation has put forward the following proposals: an Opportunity Account to help people pay for effective education and training; investments to support unions, colleges, and other organizations that create training for quality jobs; matching funding for employers making significant investments in training new workers; and career coaching that is available to all unemployed and low-wage workers. Later this month, Harry Holzer will offer a new Hamilton Project policy proposal that recommends substantial investments in postsecondary education and workforce development. Investments are also needed in complementary systems such as core social safety net programs like unemployment insurance and nutrition assistance that help support workers while in training. In addition, addressing the need for affordable and high-quality childcare is a critical challenge for parents of young children (particularly women) trying to take advantage of workforce training opportunities. Acknowledgments: The authors thank Lauren Bauer for valuable input. Moriah Macklin provided exceptional research assistance and Desmond Amuh provided superb research support.  Using the Current Population Survey monthly data for two consecutive twelve month periods, we construct a dataset of respondents who can be observed in four consecutive months within that period. We use the IPUMS-constructed panel weights for month-in-samples 1-4 and 5-8. We remove from the sample those respondents who do not match on gender in subsequent observations or report aging more than one year over the course the the four months, which results in the exclusion of “movers” from these data. As a result, these statistics do not represent how people who moved addresses have fared, and how the propensity to move addresses may intersect with employment status changes and industry-switching; by excluding movers, we are likely under-identifying churn. Co-authored by Paige Shevlin, Director of Policy and National Initiatives, Markle Foundation, and Wendy Edelberg, Director, The Hamilton Project and Senior Fellow, Brookings.
A new Framework for Inclusive Capitalism: A New Compact Among Business, Government and American Workers, aims to address some of the structural challenges facing workers and their families. At Markle, we are working with the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism to put forward this framework that sets forth guidelines for rebuilding our economy, including policy changes that support investment in training. As jobs change in the digital economy, we need to make training accessible and affordable for workers, including labor-management training, so we grow opportunities throughout our workforce. You can see the full list of signatories and read more about the Framework on the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism website. Read the Framework here:
New York, NY - The Markle Foundation’s Rework America Alliance, a unique partnership of civil rights organizations, nonprofits, private sector employers, labor organizations and educators, is releasing the first of a new suite of resources to help unemployed job seekers move into better jobs. With many workers facing the possibility they will not be able to return to the jobs they held before the pandemic, and other low wage workers seeking better jobs with higher wages, the first tools being released by the Alliance include an innovative new resume builder to help job seekers show how skills from their past experience are relevant to new jobs as the economy recovers. The Alliance is also releasing new training for career coaches that can be accessed remotely so they can provide better guidance to workers looking to move into good jobs. Working with employers, the Alliance is also developing resources to support job growth and drive greater racial equity in hiring and workforce practices. The Alliance brings together deeply committed partners, including the National Urban League, NAACP, UnidosUS, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Google, IBM, Microsoft, McKinsey & Company, North America’s Building Trades Unions, Workday and other leading businesses, training and workforce organizations. These partners are joined by an expanding list of new members, including Boeing, Burning Glass Technologies, CVS Health, Zurich North America, and nonprofit partners, Patrick J McGovern Foundation, Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation (Rural LISC), WorkRise, and Center for Employment Opportunities. “We must drive an economic recovery that enables low income workers, particularly people of color, to achieve greater equity and economic mobility,” said Zoë Baird, CEO and President of Markle. “The Alliance partner organizations are deeply connected within their communities. They will lead collaborations to share these resources to help unemployed workers move into good jobs.” “The pandemic triggered the most unequal recession in modern U.S. history,” National Urban League President Marc H. Morial said. “Low-wage workers lost their jobs at eight times the rate of more affluent workers, and many of them have fallen into the ranks of the permanently unemployed. The depth of this crisis cries out for Rework America Alliance’s bold agenda, and we are proud to work with this forward-thinking and deeply committed coalition of partners.” Markle formed the Rework America Alliance to support an inclusive recovery for unemployed and low wage workers, particularly people of color, who are disproportionately impacted by the current economic and health crisis. The Alliance will help millions of workers, regardless of formal education, move into good jobs by accelerating the development of a nationally scaled system of worker training aligned to jobs that employers will need to fill. Going forward, Alliance partners will provide additional resources that support the end-to-end process of connecting workers to good jobs. The Alliance will help those most in need of support by working closely with organizations nationwide which are already making a difference in the communities they serve. The Alliance’s integrated set of capabilities will include job market insights on roles that are most relevant to workers who have been displaced; guidance on affordable, effective training options that connect workers with good jobs; better training and support for career coaches so they can more effectively support workers in their job search; and resources that will drive employers to increase the hiring, training and advancement of people who have previously been overlooked or excluded. The First of a New Suite of Digital Resources for Worker-Facing Organizations and Employers Includes: Rework America Alliance’s new resume builder, Skill My Resume, developed in partnership with workforce data experts Emsi. This free tool creates a skills-based resume which draws on data from thousands of job postings to help job seekers use their past experience to create a resume with the skills employers are looking for. Career coaches can use this tool to show job seekers how their past jobs can be applied to other roles or sectors for which employers are hiring. The Alliance is also working with employers to drive the adoption of more equitable hiring practices that open opportunities for more workers. Developed with input from leading employers and small businesses, the first new resources for employers include the Rework America Alliance Sourcing and Hiring Playbook which provides a guide to hiring workers from more diverse backgrounds and recognizing talent in candidates that may otherwise be overlooked, without relying solely on credentials such as a four year college degree. In early 2021, the Alliance will provide new labor market insights through an interactive data tool to highlight good jobs that employers are hiring for and how these align with the skills many displaced workers already possess. To help workers move into good jobs, the Alliance is also creating resources that will provide actionable, vital information on training options that succeed in preparing workers for good jobs with strong career mobility potential, including community college, online and union training programs. Additional remote career coaching training modules will also be released. The Alliance will be collaborating with worker-serving organizations — including Alliance partners the National Urban League, UnidosUS, Goodwill Industries International and Rural LISC ¬— to bring these resources to workers who have been hard hit by the current economic crisis. About The Markle Foundation The Markle Foundation works to realize the potential of technology to achieve breakthroughs in addressing some of the nation’s most pressing issues. Markle challenges itself and diverse partners to deploy their varied expertise to identify solutions and achieve systemic change. Today as advanced technology and automation change the very nature of work, Markle’s priority is advancing solutions toward a labor market that will enable workers in America to move into good jobs in the digital economy. Markle’s workforce initiatives include Skillful and Rework America, and most recently, the Rework America Alliance. They follow Markle’s success in creating the policy and technology architecture that has enabled improvements in healthcare, national security, and access to the Internet. For more information, visit markle.org, follow @MarkleFdn and @ReworkAmerica on Twitter, and read our book, America's Moment. For media inquiries, please contact Carrie Gonzalez at [email protected] or 917-705-6531
We are committed to connecting the resources of the Rework America Alliance with local communities in partnership with our delivery partners. We believe in-community delivery is important because we want to get the tools and resources of the Alliance into the hands of those who need them the most, particularly people of color, women, those working low-wage jobs and those without a bachelor’s degree, as quickly as possible. These local efforts are also nested within a broader delivery outreach strategy where we will make tools and resources available widely through Alliance channels. In the first half of 2021, we will begin the planning for our local community engagement, starting with efforts designed with four key Rework America Alliance partners, Goodwill, National Urban League, Rural LISC, and UnidosUS. Through this direct in-community engagement we will both make available the collective resources of the Alliance, such as labor market insights, guidance on effective training prioritization, coaching resources, and employer toolkits, and help our partners coordinate a robust workforce development ecosystem with key stakeholders such as local employers, training providers, and government agencies. During this process, we will also collect insights about what resources have the most impact and develop best practices to inform the work of the Alliance as we scale. “Goodwill Industries International’s partnership with Rework America Alliance is accelerating the way we connect job seekers to in-demand occupations with sustainable wages. Together, we will collaborate to modernize the workforce system to provide products and services to job seekers so they can excel in the evolving labor market.” Sonya N. Francis, Senior Director, Mission Innovation and Strategy, Goodwill Industries International Translating data from insight to action We believe it is crucial to harness the power of data to help individuals navigate this time of unprecedented job loss and uncertainty. Millions of workers develop extensive skills through their work experience, yet these skills often go unrecognized – both by employers and by workers themselves. Too many workers do not have the guidance to leverage their experiences to access a next job, let alone an in-demand job with greater income, resilience, and quality. When empowered with the right data, job coaches can far more effectively help job seekers access the right next opportunity – and employers can better recognize and value the experience of applicants. This Fall, the Alliance has focused on making labor market data actionable for the people and organizations (coaches, employers, unions, workforce systems, community advocacy groups, training providers, etc.) who support workers coming from lower-wage occupations, many of whom must rely on their experience rather than academic credentials to secure their next job. It is this “last mile” that makes all the difference in truly having an impact. Thanks to the diverse members of the Alliance, we are drawing on 360 degrees of perspective, capability, and frontline experience. What we have been doing We are developing analytics to enable worker-serving-organizations, employers, labor, and coaches to better support lower-wage workers in accessing good jobs and economic mobility. Crucially, we are shaping and validating the insights together with these organizations and the workers they support to be as useful as possible through the uncertainties of the economic recovery.
New York, NY – The Markle Foundation is pleased to announce today that Dr. Christopher Howard has been elected to its Board of Directors. Dr. Howard is the President of Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh. He is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and saw active service as both a helicopter pilot and an intelligence officer for the Joint Special Operations Command. At Oxford, he received a Doctorate in Politics and he also earned an MBA with distinction at Harvard Business School. Prior to his current role at RMU, Dr. Howard served as President of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia for six years. “Chris Howard is one of the nation’s most innovative education leaders. He understands the challenges many Americans face in obtaining promising careers in good jobs, and the need for educational design to help them meet those challenges,” said Zoë Baird, CEO and President of Markle. “We are delighted to have Chris join our Board and look forward to working together to contribute to an equitable economic recovery for all Americans.” Suzanne Nora Johnson, Chair, Markle Board of Directors, added, “I am delighted that Chris Howard will be joining the Board of Directors; I have known Chris to be a steadfast champion and advocate for educational and economic opportunities for people of all backgrounds, including those who have historically lacked access.” “I’m pleased to be joining an organization which is addressing one of the most pressing issues that we face today in this country, economic opportunity for all Americans,” said Dr. Howard. “Markle’s leadership in addressing the urgent crisis of employment opportunity is one of the most fundamental issues of our time and I look forward to contributing to the strategies Markle is pursing.” The Markle Foundation has formed the Rework America Alliance, a nationwide collaboration to enable unemployed and low wage workers to emerge from the current public health and economic crisis stronger. The Alliance aims to help millions of workers, regardless of formal education, move into good jobs in the digital economy by accelerating the development of a nationally scaled system of worker training aligned to jobs that employers will need to fill. About The Markle Foundation The Markle Foundation works to realize the potential of technology to achieve breakthroughs in addressing some of the nation’s most pressing issues. Markle challenges itself and diverse partners to deploy their varied expertise to identify solutions and achieve systemic change. Today as advanced technology and automation change the very nature of work, Markle’s priority is advancing solutions toward a labor market that will enable workers in America to move into good jobs in the digital economy. Markle’s workforce initiatives include Skillful and Rework America, and most recently, the Rework America Alliance. They follow Markle’s success in creating the policy and technology architecture that has enabled improvements in healthcare, national security, and access to the Internet. For more information, visit markle.org, follow @MarkleFdn and @ReworkAmerica on Twitter, and read our book, America's Moment.